Property from the Estate of Walter Becker
October 18 and 19, 2019 | Beverly Hills, CA
With Julien’s Auctions
All auction items are now online and open for pre-auction bidding at: https://www.julienslive.com/m/view-auctions/catalog/id/312
The printed catalog is also online in flip-book format at: https://www.juliensauctions.com/auctions/2019/Walter_Becker/Walter_Becker_Flipping_Book/
Julien's Summary Post with links to all relevant pages at: https://juliensauctions.com/auctions/2019/Walter_Becker/Walter_Becker_Subscriber.html
Known for his sublime and immediately identifiable guitar tone, his intimate knowledge of the tools of studio and stage, and his unique, impeccable ear, Becker is heralded as one of the most potent forces in popular music of the last 50 years.
“Julien’s Auctions is thrilled to offer this exceptional collection of musical instruments and gear owned and cherished by Walter Becker, the co-founder and creative genius of one of the most acclaimed and visionary bands of all time, Steely Dan, and a solo artist of uncommon uniqueness and creativity,” said Darren Julien, CEO/President of Julien’s Auctions.
"Walter Becker was legendary for his unique tone, his curiosity, his knowledge, his high audiophile standards, and the pleasure he took in experimenting to create just the right sonic landscape that would best support his creative and musical intentions. This fine and wide-ranging collection reflects all of these characteristics — and more — that helped make Walter Becker one of the most talented and respected all-around musicians and sonic connoisseurs of his generation."
If this event interests you, your first visit should be to Julien’s Auctions, my carefully-considered choice to handle Walter’s much beloved babies and to usher them into what we all earnestly hope are new loving and musical homes. Do your old D-Mod a solid — would you? — and send up a little wish for just that outcome?
That’s what Walter wanted, of course. And I like to think his legacy deserves no less.
The Julien’s Auctions folks have been truly spectacular, and I’ve been blown away by their knowledge, the care they are taking with this inventory, and what appears to me to be a truly above-and-beyond effort to do this one up right! They value Walter Becker, his work, his legacy, and his stuff! Wonderful!
Their site dedicated to The Becker Auction will be updating with details and news --- such as today's Rolling Stone piece on the auction -- and all you need to know to view the live auction online or even bid remotely, if you're so moved.
I strongly urge you to sign up for their newsletters and alerts! No way will we keep up with all the happenings and must-knows; So, please sign up with them if you are interested in following along.
No doubt I will have more to say as time goes on about what is for me, at least, a rather momentous event, although I’ll be leaving all the informative details to Julien’s, who will do a fine job of informing prospective bidders and observers.
But now, to no one’s surprise, I’d like to indulge in an initial observation about this collection, things you may not hear much about elsewhere, even though they speak eloquently, I believe, about the man and the cherished possessions I witnessed him acquire and use (and use! and use!!) for the last few decades.
And it is this:
I believe the collection reveals a somewhat unique aspect of Walter and his place — and reputation — in the music-making community both as a connoisseur and as a so-called “collector”; namely, his championing of up-and-coming luthiers and other sound professionals. To be sure, we find in his collection the Fenders, the Gibsons, the Guilds and the Marshalls; but we also find the Hahns, the Ian Andersons, the Grimes’, the Monty’s, the Satellites, the Dr. Zs (I’ve left out plenty of others’ names). And of course, when SD Mach 2 all began, there was that scrappy genius Roger Sadowsky already in fast mid-flight, building his his now-mighty empire.
Finding, supporting, and mentoring talented and aspiring professionals was important to Walter, and resulted in discovering and giving feedback on — and sometimes even helping to shape — personalized “boutique” instruments and gear, and then applying his innovative mind to benefit from their use. Watch amplifier developer Dr. Z here for an insightful and informed discussion of Walter’s use of creative and unique amps and amplification schemes, and how he would “play the amp as an instrument.”
His enthusiasm and creativity in wringing the best out of every noise-making contraption
he came across — well, let me tell you, it was a sight to behold.
There will be others along, I hope, who will speak more knowledgeably about Walter’s perhaps surprising (and not widely known) reputation within the guitar and gear community. But as far as I'm concerned, these pieces hold a special place in Walter’s collection, reflecting as they do his deep engagement with the gutsy and talented souls who help put more and better music into the world, and whom he so appreciated and valued.
Over and Out for now....,
Is there anything left of his basses?
Psue quoted a phrase from the introduction of the WB Auction Catalog. I answered there...but it was a thread on China Crisis so my spew more appropriately belongs here...so I moved it
uh oh;----psue, I think that means you read the catalog introductionI 😣. I was extremely unhappy with that piece and only allowed its inclusion at the last minute.... And was rather hoping most people would just pass it by
The reason it's so miserably bad IMHO --aside from the fact that it was written quickly in one draft; not exactly the royal road to compelling prose --is because it was written with a specific goal in mind for the specific audience of auction participants, whom I knew were approaching the auction with some serious misconceptions. For better or worse I felt obligated to try and bring a little more truth to the situation
Since the whole project started with Julian's many many many moons ago, I had to educate them as to the true relationship Walter had with these masses of instruments, which were, honestly and understandably, really all they saw at the outset. I think .(Aside: and they got it, big time !! they became some of the biggest Becker boosters ever, truly comprehending and appreciating [and respecting] much of what made him a special musician and man. I love those guys)
As the stories get told the truth fills out … But a lot of those stories only emerge slowly. You've heard Hahn talk about going down to SIR many afternoons and just pulling out guitar after guitar for hours with Walter and NiteBob,,"talking sound". Now given that Walter went went to the location of the majority of his collection almost every day he was in New York , and stay for hours and hours, you can bet he wasn't hanging in the SIR lounge. And to my great happiness, it seems so many of you who received a guitar found that even a humble no-name plays really well, and may well have been modified, or at least set up carefully and properly. (check out the "Calling All Auction Survivors" thread for great feel-good stories about all the wonderful new homes and caretakers for the beauties). Just a few examples.
So very very few Instruments in that collection were impulse buys. (Possibly only the really bizarre looking novelty ones). If Walter bought a guitar -- that is, if he selected it from somewhere after playing everything else in the place for hours-- you can be certain he saw and heard something in it.. Almost immediately, he and his current tech would bring it into the workroom and think about what improvements may be needed, or what modification Walter thought he would like to try next. It wasn't paid for and then shelved. It was paid for and then fussed over, at least for little while.
In any case, I knew very well that most people assumed a collection like that was rarely touched by its owner. So I saw my job, if you will, in the introduction to try to convey just what a freak of nature Walter was, really, when it came to this sort of thing! In short, and frankly, that text appearing in that catalog was as much of a sales pitch as a tribute. And you might imagine how that made me feel
I nearly cried when it went to press.. There is really nothing of the man I and many of you love in that essay, except for the story of one tiny corner of his magnificent lunacy. It may have done its "job" but.... I let him down.
Sorry to be so verbose today. I think I've posted more in the last 36 hours then in the previous three months. For some reason I'm ... well, the only word for it is haunted. Or maybe possessed. I think someone must've put a voodoo spell on me.. None of you would do such a nasty thing to your D-Mod, would you? Actually, what am I saying?--- I know at least 10 people by name who would do exactly that.
But fuck 'em. The haunting, difficult as it is in a way, is buffeting me with a high high surf of him, of Walter, rushing so much of him into shore from his Point of Singularity...at least until it all rushes out again to nowhere (too soon: too soon).
And I can't really complain about that, can I?
Understood - thanks! Any info would be helpful and much appreciated. I'm probably way overthinking this but I just wish at least one of the pix from the show had this guitar in it.
No worries. I thought that was actually hilarious since I guess I did sign it "tia" and "tia" is also a name, so... my bad! I thought at first I found some photos of it but then realized that they were of him with one of his Sadowski's in heavy blue light. Easy to confuse at first if the headstock is cropped out. From all the pix I have found it looks like is stable on stage at Coachella included a light (natural?) Sadowski Tele, a red and a green Sadowski strats, a brown/fade Fender strat, and a yellow/red flame Ian Anderson Les Paul. There is one other on a stand that I haven't seen a pic with him playing that I can't quite make out - looks kind of Les Paul shaped but with a black pick-guard. The Paul he is seen playing has a white pick-guard. In any case it is definitely not a blue strat. In the auction the Anderson Paul (lot 27) and the brown Strat (lot 553) were also tagged as Coachella and you can see both of them in various pictures from the show. Does anyone know who compiled the history of the instruments that was used in the catalog? If I can't find a picture, I'd settle for finding out who said that it had been played there so I can ask them.
Hoping someone here could help out or suggest where I could go... I was lucky enough to win the blue strat item 502 https://www.juliensauctions.com/auctions/2019/Walter_Becker/Walter_Becker_Flipping_Book/270/ (because the ones I might have wanted more went right out of my price range). In the description it says that he played it onstage at Coachella. I've spent some time searching images, videos, even Facebook and Instagram postings from Coachella (although there are just too many social media posts to have gone through them all) and I don't see that guitar in any of the videos/photos. Perhaps he used it on the sound check, which probably doesn't have any photos? Any ideas or suggestions of either any evidence that he did indeed play it at Coachella or anyone I could ask about who said it had been played there in the first place? The only contacts I have at Julien's have not replied to my questions so far. Help! TIA
I would love to offer my heartfelt Congratulations to everyone that was able to navigate the
time constraints and the financial obstacles of the auction and was able to acquire one of
Walter's beloved instruments, or any of his equipment, and keep them in the family of this
inspiring community of people, all of whom have a very real sense of Everything Walter
Becker! Thanks to Everyone, and Love to Delia..
I will be back with more soon.. Lary
And I would second everything said by Oleander 1.
Just to live stream was a great experience.The love in the room for Walter came across loud and clear.
And I do have the catalogue,which is one of the most stunningly beautiful things I own.
Thank you D-Mod for all you do.
I'd like to echo your gratitude. The auction was a moving experience completely apart from any bidding, "winning," "losing," etc., even online. So, many thanks for sharing. I drank in every minute.
I was lucky enough to win the Grimes white electric guitar and the Peavey amps. I am thrilled to own a guitar that was one of his favorites in the early 1990’s and the amps he used in his dressing room during the 1993 tour. I would have loved to get a trophy guitar, like one of the Sadowskys, but I have a feeling that Walter would approve of my purchases. Congrats to all the winning bidders and everyone who participated! :-)
I just want to say Thank You for sharing Walters musical instruments with this auction and giving me the opportunity to fulfill my dream of owning and playing one of his guitars.
I think it was there's is another auction.??
But it was late and I had friends round and I literally just caught a snippet through the general noise of conversation.
I do hope I haven't upset anyone.I'm sure D-Mod will put us right.
Don't leave us hanging! What was the announcement?
I can't elaborate as I didn't trust my ears at that time in the morning.!!
But it's certainly not bad.
Sounds like you had a wonderful time at the auction.